A Personal History of the British Record Business 57 – Tony Calder 4.


A more recent photo of Tony and his son Anthony with X Factor contestant Chloe Jasmine

The conversation/interview was inching its way back to setting up Immediate Records. I reminded Tony that some years earlier, Joe Meek had tried this.

It was a Friday afternoon. We were pissed off with Decca. We’d seen Louis Benjamin who had offered us a deal that was so stupid, it was like a Mickey Mouse percentage. We’d seen L.G. (Wood) who didn’t like Andrew, well Andrew presumed he didn’t like him and anyway they had Mickie Most. We didn’t know what to do. It (Immediate) wasn’t a label at the time. Andrew said ‘Let’s form a label.’ We’re going up Park Lane at the time. There was a phone box at the top – it’s not there anymore. I said ‘stop the car.’ We’re in a Chevrolet on our way to Wembley for Ready Steady Go. He said ‘what are you doing?.’ I said ‘just stop the car.’ And I get out and make a phone call. ‘Philips Records please.’ I say ‘Leslie’ (Gould). ‘Yes.’ It’s Tony Calder here. Andrew and I have just formed a record label and you are going to get the sales and distribution and the manufacture..’ He said ‘thank you – where are you?’ I said ‘I’m looking at you – look out of your window. I’m going to Wembley; I’m going to call you from Wembley – get the deal ready.’ I get back in the car an d say ‘what’s the name of the label Andrew.’ ‘I dunno, it should be Immediate or something.’ ‘Right, that’ll do. I need a logo – you draw the logo.’ I said ‘I’m calling Leslie back when we get to Wembley.’ So I call him back and he said ‘right, I’ll give you 12.5%’  I said ‘discount?’ ‘And five percent for sales.’ I said ‘only when we ask for them.’ ‘and manufacturing at our..’ ‘No, no’, I said, I want your manufacturing less 5% ( I asked for 10%-we settled on 5.) And that became the famous sales and distribution that thenbecame Allen Klein’s “Buy/Sell” deal. It became the standard documnent you see. There’d never been one before. Island was running round off the back of a lorry. We were the first with a proper distribution deal. So Leslie said ‘paperwork’s ready.’ ‘Great boys, great.’ ‘Send us round some money.’ So a couple of grand came round, because we had no money. But that’s how Klein got in.


Allen Klein and Andrew Loog Oldham

We’re off to America to see Bert Burns. He plays us Hang on Sloopy. He said ‘boys,. find me a label in England.’ I said ‘we’ve got a label called Immediate.’ I said ‘what do you want for it?’ He said $500. That was it, there was no paperwork. About three months later he was in London. Andrew was having one of his sleep treatments, and I gave him (Bert) five grand in an envelope. He was so embarassed. I said ‘there’s your royalties. Don’t ask for an accountant because we don’t know how to do it.’


Bert Burns (whom I’m guessing is top right), with The McCoys

About a year later, Andrew was having another of his sleep treatments. ‘Don Arden’s here’ ‘Yeah, send him in.’ He said ‘Tone, I know you and Steve Marriott go back to Ilford Palais (when I was doing the kids’ session, Marriott pops up one afternoon and ‘allo, I’m Steve Marriott; I’ve been in Oliver , can I play the records?’ I said ‘yeah, get on with it.)  I want to sell you the contract – they’d love you to manage them.’ I said ‘but they’re cold Don, they’ve gone off the boil – you fucked them up.’ Her said ‘well, this new record’s not very good.’ I said ‘what do Decca think of it?’ ‘Oh, they’ll put anything out.’ I said ‘give me the paperwork’ and he said ‘I want 30 grand.’ I’m not paying 30 grand-20 grand’. We settled on 25. I said ‘I’ll read the paperwork and if it’s OK we’ll do it tomorrow.’ He said ‘It’s got to be in a brown paper bag. ‘ So I read the paperwork and I read the Decca contract and I read Don’s contract. Fine. I said ‘draw up the paperwork, transfer Don’s contract, fuck the other one.’ There was no inducement letter. So I said to Don ‘ this record’s gone to Decca?’ ‘Yes’. So he comes in, signs the paperwork and I give him the envelope. So I call Andrew in the nursing home – they’ve woken him up. He used to have these six-week sleeping treatments. Mad. That’s why we fell out – it was only when he had the money that he could afford to have them. I said ‘we’ve signed the Small Faces – we’re going to put them out on Immediate.’ He aid ‘How much did you pay?’ I said ’25 grand’. ‘Call a meeting tomorrow; I’ll be there; call them in.’ They turned up, scrubbed, clean. Andrew said ‘you’re on Immediate. What do you want to do? We’ve rented this house down in the country; go down there and write and do an album. It’s got to be an album.’ ‘Far out man.’ ‘And by the way, take this with you – don’t open it until you get there.’ They were like kids with a Christmas present. It was a block of hash and off they went. Itchycoo Park –they just churned it out. That was it. So I thought ‘ this is a bit of alright.’



I call Eddie Kassner and said ‘you’ve gone cold with The Equals – do you want to sell the contract? I’ll sell the records. He said OK. I said ‘ send me round the contract.’ I agreed 25 grand with him, payable Friday lunchtime. He kept the publishing, we had the records. So it’s one-o-clock on Friday he hasn’t turned up. I phoned him and said ‘are you coming round the sign this?’ ‘You f****** barrow boys, you’re all the f****** same, I’m not selling my f******….

(Trying to figure out what’s going on here after 20 years is a bit tricky. As we’ve suddenly moved to the 1980’s, Tony was managing Eddy Grant who seems to have expressed an interest in buying the catalogue that Eddie Kassner did not sell to Calder. I do know he subsequently did a licensing deal for the catalogue with EMI)

In the mid-80’s, whenever it was, Eddy (Grant)  says ‘I want to buy them back.’ So I ring him (Eddie Kassner) and say ‘ You’re a smart old Jewish boy.’ He said ‘why?’ I said, ‘well, if you’d sold it me then (for £25,000).’ ‘Oh well, I don’t remember.’ I said ‘you now get it with noughts on the end’. ‘Are you telling me (Eddy Grant) has the money?’ ‘Yeah yeah, he’s got the money.’ ‘Half a million for the lot. And if he ever wants to buy Ray Davies’s publishing, I’ll sell it to him. Never to Ray. Even when I die, I’ll leave words that he can always buy Ray’s publishing for cash.’

So we agreed to meet in Amsterdam for tax reasons. Eddie flies in. We’re meeting in a private bank and I’ve had the money transferred from Switzerland. They said ‘Excuse me Mr. Calder’ They’ve got a picture of him with the silver hair in The Equals. I say ‘Yes, it’s the same guy. – sign here.’ There’s Eddie Kassner sitting there, the sweat pouring down – I thought he was going to have a heart attack. ‘Edmund, how are you m’boy? The barrow boy says you have the money. Can I see it?’ And I say ‘and a first class train fare to Zurich.’ He says ‘ that’s very kind of you’ because he only asked for a train fare and I got him first class. That’s how he (Grant) got his publishing and his records.arton1529.jpgequals_single.jpg

So (we’re back in the 60’s again!) the following summer. ‘Tony have you got any money?’ ‘ Yes Don, what do you want?’ ‘I’m popping round the see you.’ He said ‘you f*ck*d me over the Small Faces.’ I said ‘I did not.’ He said ‘well, maybe I f*ck*d you – I only needed £17,500.’ I said ‘well, you got a result then.’ He said ‘yeah, but you had a result. You put them on Immediate and Decca didn’t sue.’ I said ‘No, they wouldn’t sue me because there was no contract between me and Decca.’ ‘F*ck*ng wide boy.’ I said ‘no, you’re the wide boy,’ He says ‘I’ve got a deal for Amen Corner.’ ‘Oh, piss off’, I said.’You can’t even get arrested with them.’ He says ‘listen to this’ and it goes ‘la la’ and I say ‘take this shit off. This is not Amen Corner.’ ‘Oh Tone’, he says ‘I love you. I’m in real trouble. Andrew could do something with them.’ I think we ended up at £18,500 or something. Signed it all the following day. He was desperate for the money and he says at the meeting. “Got you – I knew I’d get my own back on you.’ I said ‘why?’ ‘I only needed £17,500!’ I said ‘Don, you know that song?’ and said it in Italian. He said ‘how do you know what it is?’ I said I was in San Remo in January and had been following the song ever since to find out who had the publishing. It went in at 17 then straight to No.1. It was (If Paradise is) half as nice. The minute I heard it…I remember this guy singing it. I think I was there with Andy Wickham who was over from L.A. at the time and we’re going ‘this is an unbelievable song.’ Jack Fishman managed to get it and do the lyrics. And the minute I heard it I went ‘no – it can’t be.’ I thought – keep your mouth shut, look out of the window, do anything. That’s how we did it.


Next extract introduces us (again) to Eddy Grant, more on Immediate and…

Text © David Hughes 2018. Photos Google searched just to break up the copy!


About dhvinyl

Lifelong obsession with music, 33 years in the music business, 40 years immersed in selling old records, 18 years retired!
This entry was posted in A Personal History of the British Record Business, Stories of the British Music Business, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Personal History of the British Record Business 57 – Tony Calder 4.

  1. Bob Fisher says:

    Bert BERNS is second from the left holding up 6 fingers (maybe the % he wanted).Tony told me the ‘How we got “Hang On Soopy” story slightly differently in that they delivered Bert $500 in a brown paper bag in the early hours of a morning which was actually a portion of the door money they had taken the same evening at a Rolling Stones gig in New York. Go figure. Tony was a terrific storyteller and I’m really enjoying these installments


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